We wanted to celebrate the timeless alcohol tradition of the region by blending a Japanese style whisky that harmonizes Japanese nature and artisanship.
JIM'S DESERT ISLAND WHISKEYS
Kamiki Japanese Cedar Cask Finished WhiskyBOTTLE DETAILS
- DISTILLER: Undisclosed. Produced by Yoshino Spirits.
- MASH BILL: Undisclosed. Kamiki Sakura is a blended whisky reportedly made with malt whiskies distilled along Japan's coast. The grain whisky used is imported but the countries of origin are not disclosed.
- MATURATION: First matured in oak casks and then finished in Yoshino Sugi (Japanese cedar) casks.
- AGE: NAS - No age statement
- YEAR: 2020
- PROOF: 96 Proof (48% ABV)
- MSRP: $89.99
NOSE: Caramel | Corn | Spiced Cherries | Toasted Oak
TASTE: Rye Spice | Oak | Faint Sweet Honey | Green Apple
FINISH: Medium with lingering sweetness and some grain
SHARE WITH: While young, this is a blend to share with your “drink curious” not too judgy friends.
WORTH THE PRICE: I found Ingram an interesting expression. I am generally a Midwest Grain Products fan, and I like to support craft distillers/blenders with innovative ideas. With all that being said, at over $70 for a less than 4-year-old, sourced, blended whiskey, this would be a tough sell for me.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: This whiskey is not a bust. It has interest and depth that you wouldn’t expect by its age. The blending is done well and with the innovative take on aging, I will give it a BAR rating. Try it first, if you can, before you buy. In the fifty dollar range, I would be tempted to go bottle.
OVERALL: O. H. Ingram River Aged Straight Whiskey, I found interesting whiskey. Aged in a floating “rickhouse” at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, in Ballard County, Kentucky. The theory being the gentle rocking of the barrels enhances the aging process. This process has its roots in the river transport of barreled distillate from Bourbon County delivered to New Orleans, with the transformed taste that apocryphally led to our native spirit. Does it make a difference? I have no idea, but there are a lot of people putting barrels on ocean voyages, riverboats, playing music to them, and even aging in cranberry bogs.
I have an issue with brands using invented or unrelated stories to support the “marketing” of their spirits. I don’t see that as an issue with O.H. Ingram. They have family history tied to the river and actually age on floating barges. They don’t hide the source, age, or mash bills of their product. Starting from typically quality rye and bourbon distillate from MGP in Indiana, aging for over three years and blended well, has produced a straight whiskey. It has a surprising depth for a young age. I found it drinkable neat, better with ice, but not particularly suitable for cocktails. My only issue with this product is the price, which is high for what it is. Understanding that the cost of sourcing and barreling probably drives this cost. If you find it in a bar, or you have the resource and drinking curiosity, I would not dissuade you from giving this one a try.
NOSE: Sandalwood | Early Spring Blossoms | A Touch of Good Shaving Cream
TASTE: Wood | Pepper | Honey | A drop of water brings out some vegetal flavors | Light Allspice
FINISH: This whisky hits the palate right up front, adds some spice in the back of the mouth, but then has almost no finish, other than a lingering sandalwood taste. Think of when you have a really luxuriously creamy sandalwood shaving cream on, and you’ve finished shaving, then can just smell the lingering sandalwood.
SHARE WITH: Like its cousin, Umiki whisky, this is a different take on a typical malted barley whisky. While Umiki is finished in pine, this one is finished in Yoshini Sugi (Japanese cedar) barrels, inspired by the breeze coming off Mount Miwa, a holy mountain guarded by Ōmiwa Shrine. It’s less ‘Scotch’ like than a lot of Japanese whiskies I’ve had, probably due to the cedar barrel finish. Scotch drinkers that enjoy different perspectives on whisky making will enjoy this
WORTH THE PRICE: The uniqueness of the cedar finish and the quality of the first taste more than make up for the lack of finish in this whisky; I’d say it’s worth the price, being a blended malt whisky, containing only malt whiskies and no neutral grain whiskies.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bar. It’s worth a try, but I personally would spend the money on a great bourbon or Islay Scotch. If you can find it at a bar, though, definitely try it. I’m glad it’s in my bar inventory for something different to try now and then.
OVERALL: This whisky has an interesting story, going through a secondary aging in Japanese cedar, honoring the Omiwa Shrine at the food of Mount Miwa. The name means God Breath, inspired by the breezes coming from the Mountain of the God. You can tell there’s some story behind the whisky. And that first taste tells you there’s quality whisky in the bottle. I wish it had a better finish, which would have moved my final verdict from Bar to Bottle, but it’s still an interesting enough whisky to try at least once.